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Lozada takes a bow as Moffat calls for more

Guinness PRO12 Editor

8 Sep 2010

Edinburgh head coach Rob Moffat has challenged his squad to give the Murrayfield crowd something to cheer by building on the positive parts of last week’s performance in Cardiff when Munster visit the Scottish capital on Friday night.

The game, Edinburgh's first competitive home fixture of the new campaign, will see at least one player make a full debut in the black and red. Esteban Lozada, the Argentina lock, has recovered from a back complaint suffered in pre-season and will line up in the second row alongside Scott MacLeod.

Stuart McInally, the former Watsonians No.8 who previously captained the Scotland under-20 team, is also in line to make his first competitive appearance, having been named on the replacements bench.

Mark Robertson, Scott Newlands and Ross Rennie will all make their first starts of the season in a team that shows four changes from the side that ran out at the Cardiff City Stadium four days ago.

Injuries have forced Moffat to remodel his back row, Alan MacDonald (hip) and Roddy Grant (swollen knee) both obliged to sit out this week's game. In Grant's absence, Chris Paterson will captain the side.

Moffat wants his men to turn the flashes of quality they showed in the Cardiff match into something more sustained against Munster, believing there to be "enough of a base" to feel confident ahead of Friday's showdown. He said: "We were clearly disappointed to lose against Cardiff, and the performance, overall, wasn't good enough, but having watched the game back a number of times, I'm happier than I was immediately after full-time.

"We actually played a lot of good stuff, but we gave ourselves plenty to do by conceding a couple of soft scores. What I want from the players this week is to do themselves justice with a more complete performance, and there's absolutely no doubt we'll need it against a side of the quality of Munster."

Moffat has offered commiserations to Grant, whom he made captain in the summer, but knows that, in Paterson, he has an inspirational replacement as leader. The full-back scored all of Edinburgh's points in the 12-7 success recorded in the corresponding fixture last October. Moffat said: "Chris has performed really well on his return from that serious [kidney] injury, and has immediately set the standards we are all familiar with.

"It's unfortunate for Roddy that he isn't available for this game, but we look forward to welcoming back in due course, along with Alan MacDonald, who was also going well last week before he took a knock to his hip. Scott Newlands and Ross Rennie are two quality individuals to be able to call on, and I've every confidence they will grasp the opportunity."

The prospect of having Lozada in harness for the first time also excites the head coach. He continued: "Esteban has been chomping at the bit to run out at Murrayfield for the first time and I'm really looking forward to him showing the supporters why we brought him to the club. If Stuart McInally gets on, I'm sure they'll be impressed with him as well and, from my point of view, it's great to have so many guys putting their hands up for selection."

Moffat has urged the Edinburgh support to turn out in number for the clash, remembering the role the fans played in the victory 11 months ago. He said: "There was a real buzz around Murrayfield that night and the players really fed off it. When you're up against a team like Munster, who you know are going to make it a real battle all night, it's fantastic to feel that support at your back.

"It would be great to have a big crowd there again on Friday for what should be a cracking game."

Edinburgh v Munster in the Magners League on Friday 10 September at Murrayfield, kick-off 7.05pm, live on BBC ALBA:

15 Chris Paterson CAPTAIN
14 Mark Robertson
13 Ben Cairns
12 Alex Grove
11 Tim Visser
10 Phil Godman
9 Mike Blair
1 Allan Jacobsen
2 Ross Ford
3 Geoff Cross
4 Esteban Lozada
5 Scott MacLeod
6 Scott Newlands
8 Netani Talei
7 Ross Rennie


16 Andrew Kelly
17 Kyle Traynor
18 Jack Gilding
19 Fraser McKenzie
20 Stuart McInally
21 Greig Laidlaw
22 David Blair
23 John Houston